Skip to main content

Tesco wins top sustainability gong as British shoppers spend more than £1 billion on sustainable seafood

  • Tesco scoops UK Supermarket of the Year for the first time in MSC UK awards
  • UK shoppers spent more than £1 billion on MSC certified seafood in the past financial year
  • Waitrose picks up UK Fish Counter of the Year for its wide range of species
  • Lidl wins UK Marketing Campaign of the Year and UK Mid-Sized Store award


The British retail sector today celebrated the progress they have made in offering more sustainable seafood than ever to consumers at the annual Marine Stewardship Council Sustainable Seafood Forum and Awards held at the historic Fishmongers’ Hall, in London.  

Tesco won UK Supermarket of the Year for the first time recognising the retailer’s tremendous improvement. Tesco increased its MSC certified and labelled wild range from 48% to 69% of the total range over the past year.

UK shoppers are increasingly choosing sustainable seafood and spent more than £1 billion[1] on MSC certified sustainable seafood in the financial year to March 2019, a rise on 21% from last year. Some 77% of seafood shoppers want their supermarket claims about sustainability to be clearly labelled by an independent organisation, according to a survey from research agency Globescan commissioned by MSC.

Erin Priddle, Programme Director, UK & Ireland, said: “Tesco has made astonishing progress this year which is why they have rightly scooped the award for Supermarket of the Year. At the MSC, we’re excited about the growth of sustainable seafood across the UK. The retail sector has been working hard this year to provide more sustainable seafood choices. British consumers are passionate about the environment and sustainability and when given the option, they are increasingly choosing the blue fish label. This gives them the confidence that their seafood is sustainably sourced.”

Helena Delgado Nordmann, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Tesco, said: “We’re delighted to be awarded Supermarket of the Year by MSC. Our customers want us to offer more sustainable seafood choices, and we’ve been able to increase our range to nearly 170 different MSC products which now covers almost 70% of our range, compared to just under 50% last year. It’s incredibly important we work together to safeguard fish stocks for future generations, and we’ll continue to drive improvements in the supply chain and support more fisheries to gain MSC certification.”

Waitrose won Fish Counter of the Year for the second year running for their broad range of products and species on their fish counters. Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager Jeremy Ryland Langley, who is retiring this year after 42 years at the retailer, won a Lifetime Achievement Award for his key role in its sustainable fish and seafood policy and for having significant influence on the wider sector.

Jeremy Langley, Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager for Waitrose, said: “I am extremely honoured to be awarded the MSC Lifetime Achievement award which would not have been possible without the inspiration and support from many friends and colleagues.

“Over the past 25 years the responsible sourcing of fish agenda has gathered pace from humble beginnings in the UK to a global effort today. There is however still much work to do but I'm confident that by working together we can continue to drive improvement particularly when it comes to protecting the marine environment. In fact, our very existence depends on it.”

Lidl picked up the two awards: Mid-Size Store Retailer of the Year and Marketing Campaign of the Year for campaigns prominently featuring the MSC logo and for promoting the importance of seafood sustainability to consumers through TV ads, in-store signage and on social media channels.

Amali Bunter, Lidl GB's Responsible Sourcing Manager, said: "Safeguarding seafood fish stocks for the future is a topic that we are extremely passionate about, so we're thrilled to win Mid-Sized Store Retailer of the Year for the fourth year running, as well as winning the Marketing Campaign of the Year award. These awards are testament to the team here at Lidl, who for many years, have been working closely with our suppliers and the wider sector, to help shape a more sustainable fishing industry and champion this with our customers.

“By supporting more fisheries to gain MSC certification, increasing transparency in our supply chain through the Ocean Disclosure Project, and delivering bold marketing campaigns championing MSC certified seafood, we're continuing to take a holistic approach in enabling our customers to make sustainable seafood choices.”

Retail Supplier of the Year award went to Thistle Seafoods, who have been instrumental in the success of the UK retail industry continuing to increase its offering of sustainably sourced products.   Birds Eye won Frozen Brand of the Year and John West took Canned Seafood Brand of the Year after they maintained their positions in the frozen and canned sectors.  

Launched in 2014, the annual MSC awards celebrate those safeguarding seafood supplies for now and future generations.  They recognise and reward the performance of MSC partners in supporting the MSC programme over the financial year (April 2018 - March 2019).

The criteria for judging the Supermarket of the Year category has expanded this year. In previous years, this category was judged solely on the number of products. This year, the judging criteria included number of products, volume, the percentage of the range that is MSC certified as well as the progress made on volume and the progress made on the percentage of the range that is MSC certified.

[1] Shoppers spend on seafood carrying the MSC ecolabel increased 21% in the last year in the UK, from £923 million in 2018 to £1.12 billion. The figure is calculated by using a 30% mark-up on wholesale prices.